Daily Journey Journal #73: testing theories

The day’s heat hung in the stagnant air over the river. Sweat dripped down their faces in slow, lazy drops. Agitation was ripe. Why she had agreed to being a toad catcher, she couldn’t fathom.

Well, that wasn’t entirely true.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

He had asked her to come with him and so she had, on the hope that inklings of feelings they shared for one another would pan out. It was those inklings that she couldn’t seem to figure out now. Had she really crushed on him so much that she agreed to spend the precious days of summer catching toads?

Apparently.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

So, there she was in the canoe of an aspiring biologist, five miles down river with a tank full of warty toads and thirty seven days more on the job.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

“God, I’m dying,” she said.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

“Let’s rest a moment,” he said.

She lay her paddle across her lap and closed her eyes, imagining icebergs and blizzards. After this, she was moving to Alaska, she decided. No heat, no life-sucking sun rays and no toads.

“You ok?” he said.

“Fine,” she said.

The canoe hovered in the middle of the river, turning ever so slightly to the left with the flow of the current. He looked at their catch, bulging and hopping about in the tank of water and then he looked at her. Then back at the toads. Tentatively, he reached out a finger.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

“What are you doing?” she said.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

“If you run you finger along a toad’s head like this it helps calm it down,” he said.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

She opened her eyes and narrowed them. “Are you insinuating that I am a toad?”

He ran his finger down her forehead the the top of her nose.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

“Not at all,” he said. “I’m merely testing the idea for people.”

“I see,” she said.

And with that, she very calmly she removed his finger from her forehead, knelt on the floor of the canoe and stuck her fingers under the edge of the tank.

“What are you doing?” he said.

She lifted the tank and gave it a shove. With a splash the tank with the toads went into the river, leaving the canoe rocking violently. Toads popped out of the water all around them, croaking joyously at their freedom.

“Wha–what did you do?” he said.

She sat back on her seat and reached out a finger.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

“Helping you to test your theory,” she said.

Stroke. Stroke. Stroke.

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